'Multum subtilis in arte architectoria'
The tragic history of Hanko, a miller from Brzesc Kujawski, is found in the Chronicle by Jan of Czarnków. Hanko was summoned by Prince Ladislaus the White to prepare the Zlotoria castle for the defence against royal forces. Well-versed in the art of architecture ('multum subtilis in arte architectoria'), he was supposed to prepare the mechanical devices necessary to defend the castle ('machinas et alia instrumenta pro castro necessaria'). But he was certain of an inevitable defeat; so he attempted to betray the defenders and let the attackers into the castle, and for this he was burnt at a stake. Hanko's works mentioned in the text have been classified as belonging to the field of architecture. This attests to the understanding of architecture in accordance with Vitruvius, who divided it into three sections: 'aedificatio, gnomonice and machinatio'. The third encompasses works conducted by Hanko, which concerned construction of military engines and presumably mills. The chronicler did not relate any data concerning Hanko's achievements in the field of 'aedificatio'; they were irrelevant to his tale. Hanko was probably competent in that as well, but Jan of Czarnków ascribed the merit of building cathedrals, e.g. in Wloclawek and Gniezno, to bishops, not to architects. A broad understanding of architecture as encompassing the field of 'machinatio' is attested to by 'The Portfolio of Villard de Honnecourt', and in the early modern period by Alberti's 'De re aedificatoria...' and in practice by Brunelleschi's achievements. The word 'subtilis' used to praise Hanko means 'crafty' rather than 'knowledgeable'. In medieval sources, negative connotation attached to works in the field of 'machinatio' is often obvious. It derives from negative evaluation of the archetype of all military engines: the Trojan horse, and Odysseus, its maker; this attitude, expressed by Aeneas from the Trojan point of view, was accepted by mediaeval Europe through the texts of Virgil and Ovid. K
- Sz. Skibinski, Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickiewicza, Instytut Historii Sztuki, al. Niepodleglosci 4, 61-874 Poznan, Poland
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